DPR Construction Mid-Atlantic Headquarters
One of the top 50 general contractors in the country, DPR Construction has a strong, confident culture exemplified in its company mission, “We exist to build great things.” It envisioned its new Mid-Atlantic headquarters not only as a workplace, but a public engagement facility—demonstrating that high performance can be achieved in any situation, with the right attitude toward planning and innovation.
The design transforms a long-vacant, seemingly obsolete Class C office space into an open-office environment that is a model of sustainable design, achieving LEED Platinum, WELL Gold and Fitwel certifications and targeting NetZero Energy certification. The design also reflects the regional Mid-Atlantic context and the company’s warm, social culture. SmithGroup, which has worked with DPR since 1997, similarly collaborated with the client to capture the regional character for offices in Atlanta, GA; Columbia, MD; Morrisville, NC; Phoenix, AZ; and Sacramento, CA.
Daylighting was modeled to guide the placement of solar tubes in core areas away from exterior windows, and the roof was renovated to support a full photovoltaic array that provides power throughout the office. The team evaluated three different heating and cooling systems for efficiency, cost, and educational value. It opted for a 30-ton, six-pipe heat recovery chiller that acts as a heat pump. The main mechanical room, with bright color-coded piping, is on full display behind glass to passersby.
The design incorporates a wide range of materials and creative intersections including formed, cast, found and improvised materials. Reclaimed wood from industrial buildings on Maryland’s Eastern Shore wrap the core of the space, and exposed structure creates a greater sense of height. Bright color blocks enliven and expand spatial perceptions. Huddle rooms are set up as living labs, testing various furniture, fixtures, and products for future recommendations to DPR clients.
In keeping with the culture that DPR is known for, social and collaboration spaces are plentiful. The largest central gathering space is anchored by a custom wine bar. In the shared pantry, a garage door opens to a patio beyond. Bicycles hanging from the ceiling serve as a graphic element and are available for staff to use on the nearby Capital Crescent Trail.